The other night, just before bed, I read an interview that my friend and teacher, Jared Mccann, did for Asana Journal. In it he discusses his journey to becoming a teacher where he states, "But I still think that deep down I am going to be a pop star."
As I sat at my computer reading this I started dying laughing. Like water coming out of my nose, snorting laughter and I was transported back in time to this moment a couple of years ago when I was leading an advanced class that he was in. Whenever he was in my advanced class I felt like a co-pilot to a class that I was piloting. Anyway, he was talking about a workshop he was attending and he was telling me that I should go. I came up with some excuse why I couldn't. To which he responded, "Yarrow, you are a yoga teacher you need to continue learning."
His words stung my heart and I got defensive. I barely remember how I actually responded to him, but in my head I was screaming," I'M A WRITER, NOT A YOGA TEACHER!!!"
But, he was right. I was a yoga teacher. I was teaching and practicing yoga far more often than I was writing. But, I was holding on to this notion of being a tortured writer. I gripped tightly to it and let it keep me tied to a path that I wasn't even sure I wanted to walk down.
About a year after that advanced class, I lay on the grass in central park, staring up at the sky, as layers of pain peeled off of me. I lay there, with tears, coming down my face and I knew that all I wanted to do was to help people heal the way that I had been blessed to heal.
As Jared said in his article, "I believe that the real teachers have all been through hell and made it to the other side."
He's right. A real teacher knows the suffering, the pain, the agony of working through the demons so that the light can shine through. This yoga, it's hard work. It's a burning through so that we can purify and tame our poisonous and unruly minds. Many people aren't ready for the real work, for getting deep into what it takes to be joyful...
Oh to be joyful, such a foreign concept for most of us, to feel the lightness in our step and the smile on our faces that comes from our hearts soaring. To be in that place of light and love and freedom and beauty. To dance with the stars and let our hearts guide us. It takes the ability to let go, to get out of our minds, to relinquish control and to surrender to the contract of our soul.
My contract is to teach yoga, meditation, and to help others to traverse through their pain to get to the other side the way that I have and still am. We are human. We suffer. Our minds make us suffer, but the more conscious we become, the more aware and the more completely we learn to move through our darkness to get to the other side the more we are able to embrace the beauty and joy of life.
It takes tremendous strength to get deep into one's own soul and to extract the pain, examine it, move through it and then release it. Yoga allows for that process. Through practicing with right intention you will get to the other side.
Spiritual practice is every artform tied together. It is poetry and dance and music painted through the limbs of our bodies and the vibration of our hearts and minds. And, as such, Jared can write music the same that I can string together poetry with the bodies, spirits, hearts and minds of the students in the classes that we teach. It's a beautiful gift and the most amazing artform of all, that of guiding people to become more aware human beings capable of giving and receiving love-- the art of bringing people through their darkness and into their light.
Peace and Love...xo